Are electric vehicles the future?

We are at the tipping point where electric vehicles (EVs) will very quickly surpass petrol and diesel sales, according to the worlds biggest automakers and motoring analysts.

Today the electric vehicle (EV) market is still powered by the very same technology that powered steam locomotives in the late 1800s, but the technology is rapidly evolving.

An electric car’s main benefit is that it can contribute to the improvement of air quality in towns and cities. As electric cars have no tailpipes, they release no carbon dioxide during driving. The pollution can be significantly reduced this way. 

The fundamental difference between conventional and electric cars is the process by which potential (stored) energy becomes kinetic (movement) energy. Chemically stored energy is released by a chemical reaction in the engine of thermal cars. As an alternative to combustion engines, electric vehicles are also chemically stored but release energy electrochemically and without burning anything, thanks to lithium-ion batteries. As a result, no air pollution through CO2 occurs while driving since there is no fuel burned.

In cities, where speeds are generally low, electric vehicles can also help reduce noise pollution. By driving an electric car, we can all enjoy a more peaceful environment, since electric cars are far quieter than conventional vehicles.

Automobile manufacturers will increase the production of EVs steadily, which will have a significant impact on the power grid. According to experts, the adoption of EVs is expected to cause a 300-fold increase in electricity consumption by 2040 when compared with 2016. To support that growth, the current grid must undergo a significant evolution, driving a blitz of innovation in solar and wind power, eventually shifting the world toward clean energy alternatives.

However, despite being cleaner, even this transition has environmental, economic, and legislative implications. As EV demand increases, other organic elements used in EVs and the production of clean energy will also rise, including lithium, cobalt, and rare earths, each carrying its own set of environmental, economic, and geopolitical challenges.

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